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A night in a former Latvian prison – one of the 10 craziest moments of a CNNGo TV travel show host


Julia Dimon, a longtime travel writer and co-host of “World Travels”, a 40-episode TV series currently airing on National Geographic Adventure and Travel Channel, has traveled to more than 80 countries, across all seven continents, she has hiked with mountain gorillas in Uganda, bungee jumped in China, camped among lions in the Serengeti and eaten goat brain in Morocco. Flea-ridden hostels, strange parasites, radioactive wastelands, scorpions and the occasional bout of malaria are just some the occupational hazards.

But even those aren’t the craziest of her travel TV experiences. There is a list of Julia’s top 10 all-time craziest travel moments and believe or not, but only one of them took place in Europe. And that is top 10: A night of ‘torture’ in a former Latvian prison. Just outside Latvia’s capital city, tourists pay to be treated like prisoners at the former Karosta (Naval Port) Prison.

Julia Dimon: “I spent a night in this former active prison (which only closed in 1997) where I was subjected to a mock interrogation, yelled at, pushed around, forced to clean a dirty latrine with a toothbrush, and stand in stress positions. Ultimately, I slept there overnight on a wooden plank in one of the cells. Sure, the guards were just acting but, in this authentic setting, it felt very real and gave me a taste of what life must have been like for the detainees. It was a creepy, comfortless experience … and I loved every minute.”

What is this amazing place? Karosta is a really unique and rare site not only for Latvia but also within the historical, architectural and urban construction framework worldwide. Karosta is one of the most unusual sightseeing objects in Latvia. You may like it or may not, but it will definitely impress you. If you should choose your travel destination, it is good idea to go to the place where many unique things can be seen – to Karosta. Unique in Latvia and the Baltic, in Europe and all around the world…

Visitors of the Karosta Prison can take a simple tour with a guide or audio guide, participate in a reality show (in Latvian, English, German or Russian), spend the night in a cell or do the ultimate and become a prisoner for the night including regular bed checks, verbal abuse by guards in period uniforms and experience the horrors of using the latrine (see www.karostascietums.lv for details).

Karosta Prison is also included in “101 Amazing Hotels” by www.hotel.info/  It can be found at: http://www.hotel.info/en/blog/101-amazing-hotels/.